Document Type

Doctor of Education Capstone

Original Publication Date



University of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Foundation

Date of Submission

April 2023


The University of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Foundation (Shore U) submitted a Request for Assistance to examine opportunities to expand postsecondary education on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. In response to this request, a doctoral research team conducted a mixed-methods study that explored potential pathways for a four-year degree option on the Eastern Shore. Eastern Shore Community College (ESCC) students, ESCC employees, and Eastern Shore community members were surveyed during the quantitative phase of the study. Secondary data was used to understand the postsecondary positionality of Eastern Shore high school students. The President of ESCC, Eastern Shore community members, and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) administrators were interviewed during the study’s qualitative phase. A key finding from the quantitative data collection is that current ESCC students credit proximity to home as the primary reason for their enrollment and 71% of the ESCC students surveyed indicated that they would attend Shore U if it existed. A key finding from the qualitative data collection is that while there is support for expanding postsecondary opportunities on the Shore, that support is not necessarily for a four-year institution. In response to these findings, the doctoral research team created a five-year plan that outlines a path forward for Shore U through community and PUTTING THE “U” IN SHORE U 10 political engagement, fundraising, internships, academic partnerships, and the provision of upper-division courses.


© The Authors